Winter Solstice - Readers Digest
December 18, 2018
Great Lakes Bay Instructional Services Newsletter
The Meaning Behind Winter Solstice
The winter solstice is upon us and will arrive December 21st. According to most sites, the winter solstice is defined as the shortest day of the year. According to Wikipedia, "The winter solstice, also known as midwinter, is an astronomical phenomenon marking the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year. It occurs when one of the Earth's poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere." While I am sure, the educators across the region are happy to know that Friday is the shortest day of the year, I prefer to look at the winter solstice from a different light.
It seems like the weeks leading up to the winter break are filled with rushing around, challenges in the classroom, squeezing in curriculum before break, while trying to attend every possible Santa visit possible on the weekends. From holiday shopping to family celebrations, to cooking making, and PJ days at school, when do we find time to breathe?
I recently read an interesting article how different culture's around the world celebrate the winter solstice. While the United States is represented, I couldn't help but feel a lack of connection to this day. While most seemed to celebrate it from a spiritual standpoint, we seem to be rushing around with the holidays on the mind.
Take the time over the holiday break to to hibernate and rest. Find your passion again for why you entered the classroom. Reflect on your life, where you have been and where you are going. You do not need attend every festival of lights, bake every cookie, and take that smiling family photo in the snow. Put down the cell phone and realize that perhaps the moment occurring does not need to end up on Facebook or Instagram, but rather as a precious moment that only you will keep. Find sometime for self-care.
The team at Curriculum Corner is wishing you a peace-filled holiday break that is filled with laughter and lasting memories.
"If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes."
Review contracts for scott
Hartley - SSEA/Title IV Funding
PBIS Webinars for ParaPros
Educator Evaluation Process
MyLearning Plan Webinars
Edupath session - leadership
Envision Math - Bridgeport
Our Community Listens HW
Pay Adaptive Schools
Dennis Barlow Reimbursement
Ed Eval Wolrksheet
This week's Spotlight contains important information regarding pre-identification for spring testing, as well as initial orders. Please click on the logo above and read it in its entirety.
Assessment & Accountability Update
The Saginaw ISD is currently working with their districts to change the philosophy and focus of continuous improvement.
Three districts, Birch Run, Freeland, and Chesaning are working hand in hand with the SISD, MDE, and SISEP through the Transformation Zone to create the system and measure the effectiveness. Most recently, the Transformation Zone met for two days (December 3rd & 4th) of training with all organizations present. The two days focused on team development, selecting effective innovations, and fidelity measurements. The Transformation Zone districts will receive coaching support from the MTSS Coach, as well as an additional 3 days of training in the spring.
The remainder of the districts are working directly with the SISD to redesign their work around district continuous improvement. The districts met on November 29th to kick off the series with updates from MDE, designing district level teams, and developing communication plans. The teams then came back together on December 13th to learn and implement the Initiative Inventory. For the remainder of the series, the districts will come together to focus on Assessment and Screening Data, Data-Based Decision Making, and Selection/implementation.
The SISD is working to connect continuous improvement with the MTSS Practice Profile. Their hope is to develop service plans for each district that aligns with their District Improvement Plan and their consolidated applications. For more information on this series, visit page 7 of the Curriculum Corner.
Continuous Improvement Series
Compliance or Compassion?
Every child is unique. We know that as both parents and educators. We also know that even the best child can be challenging at times. As children grow, part of learning is to test their own boundaries and to explore their own emotions. These actions will ultimately determine who they become as adults. As adults, we strive to provide guidance and demonstrate patience as best we can throughout this process. As adults, we have also learned that even children raised in the best environments can be troublesome, while others raised in troubled environments can be the best children.
By having this understanding, we know that we cannot treat every child the same. Yet, for as long as we can remember, schools have put students in rows, held the same expectations for each, and have become frustrated when not all students comply with our structure. When trying to manage 25-30 students at a time and actually teach them content, this has been the simplest and most efficient means to address student behavior. In many cases, though, teachers can spend as much or more time teaching compliance rather than subject matter. When this occurs and teaching content becomes almost secondary, progress toward positive educational outcomes suffers.
All of us remember those teachers or adults in our lives that had a special knack for teaching us. With those special people, it wasn’t always about what they taught us or even how they taught us. It was about the positive relationship we shared. Learning was rarely about compliance due to the respect that we held for them. Even with the knowledge that having a positive relationship with children is a necessity for learning to occur, we as adults can still struggle with those children that challenge us, defy us, and fail to conform to our wishes. Our answer is often to try and force children to comply which can destroy any chance of forming a positive relationship. With patience and perseverance, though, we as parents and professional educators can successfully navigate the complexities associated with reaching, nurturing and teaching children.
In many schools, positive gains in academic performance have been the result of the focus on forming positive relationships with students. We understand that our job as professional educators is to not only to address academic needs, but also social and behavioral needs. In order to accomplish this with the greatest success, we must focus on the needs of every student every day. Doing so is not easy, nor even feasible at all times, but maintaining a focus on each individual student’s unique needs whenever possible has shown a great deal of success. Classroom structure and behavior have become much less about compliance and much more about engagement. Our educators understand that proactively forming positive relationships with students has alleviated many reactive social and behavioral issues which is leading to a more positive educational environment.
Changing our thoughts about the typical classroom is no easy task. The typical classroom has revolved around compliance for over one-hundred years. Generations of students have learned in the same way with the same structure. With the firm knowledge and belief that every student is different, learns differently and should be treated as an individual, we are redefining the “typical” classroom. Rather than starting the school year by teaching the rules, we spend the first few weeks with a focus on forming positive relationships. Rather than just assigning a grade, we spend time understanding what was and wasn’t learned and why. Rather than just doling out detentions or suspensions, we search for understanding of why the behavior occurred and work to be proactive in changing the behavior.
This change in practice must come from a change in our belief. If we truly believe that all students can learn, we must treat them as individuals, teach them as individuals and respect them as individuals on a daily basis. In other words, are our students’ grades and scores a reflection of how well we taught and how much they learned, or are they a reflection of how much we demanded and how well they complied?
New World War I Documentary
Peter Jackson (of Lord of the Ring fame) is releasing his WWI documentary here in the US for two days only. It will be shown on December 17 and December 27. You can buy tickets now through Fandango. Most of the theaters in our area will be showing it. Check out the trailer!
Michigan ASCD will be offering an exciting new professional learning opportunity in our region on January 29, 2019 at BAISD and GIRESD.
This blended-learning symposium will encourage educators to embrace teaching and school-wide practices that support and enhance the academic and socio-emotional development of students living with trauma, violence and chronic stress. In this unique environment, participants will have the chance to interact with the authors directly via a live stream, while processing their learning in small groups with professional facilitators at several locations across our state. Take a look at the program flyer and Michigan ASCD site for information on this dynamic program. Registration is through Michigan ASCD and seating is limited.
Teaching To Strengths: A Blended Learning Symposium
NY Times Justice Reform Article
Subscribe to Race/Related
Justice Reform and the Prison Pipeline
Ever heard the term "Prison Pipeline" ? Do you know and understand the impact that education can have on this so called pipeline? It is partially up to our role as educators to help break this system down. The first step to doing this, is to educate ourselves on the problems and how our educational system feeds into this. Take a moment to read the below NY Times Editorial, View the documentary "13th" on Netflix over break, and then listen to NPR's Hidden Brain pod-cast on January 2nd.
If you are interested in learning more about Race and Relations. The NY Times provides a free eblast that comes out weekly. To register go here:
NPR Hidden Brain: Zipcode Destiny
2019 Educator Academy in the Amazon Professional Development
When: July 1-11, 2019
Grant: $1500 Vernier Software & Technology Grant for a HS/AP Science Educator
Scholarships: $1250 Amazon Workshops Scholarships for K-12 Educators
Application Deadline: February 1, 2019
Get more info:
The July 1-11, 2019 Educator Academy in the Amazon Rainforest of Peru is a cross-curricular professional development workshop for formal and informal science educators. Highlights include:
21st Century Instruction: 5E Lesson Design ~ Inquiry-Based Exploration ~ STEM
Inquiry Protocols & Resources: Vernier Software & Technology ~ Celestron Digital Microscopes
Global and Cultural Perspectives: Service Learning ~ Sustainability ~ Global Education
NEW! A specialized track for HS bio and environmental science educators with a focus on sustainability, conservation, and field work with the Maijuna indigenous community
Work side-by-side with scientists and researchers on citizen science projects and field studies.
Explore the ¼ mile long ACTSPeru Rainforest Canopy Walkway in one of the world’s most biologically diverse environments.
Work with fellow educators to explore strategies for using the Amazon as a vehicle for incorporating STEM education, inquiry-based learning, and sustainability science education into your classroom.
Contact program director, Christa Dillabaugh at email@example.com or 1-800-431-2624 for more information.
YEA Aquaculture Challenge
King-Chavez-Parks Future Faculty Fellowship
The KCP Future Faculty Fellowship Initiative, funded by the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development (TED), Talent Investment Agency (TIA), Workforce Development Agency (WDA), was developed with the intent to increase the pool of academically or economically disadvantaged candidates who want to pursue post-secondary faculty teaching careers. The Fellowship provides financial support to graduate students who attend one of the 15 public universities in Michigan, in this case SVSU. The maximum support for Masters Fellows is $20,000 up to 4 years and for Doctoral Fellows $35,000 up to 8 years. The KCP Fellowship Award is treated as a grant and is not treated as income and is not taxable. SVSU encourages applications from applicants who would otherwise not adequately be represented in the graduate student and faculty populations. Preference may not be given to applicants on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, gender, or national origin. Application information can be found at https://www.svsu.edu/diversity/kcpfuturefacultyfellowship/ For questions, contact Dr Mamie Thorns at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 989-964-4397.
Rainforest PD Website
Aquaculture Challenge What is the Aquaculture Challenge? The Aquaculture Challenge is a competition held by Lake Superior State University. Local school teams were given basic supplies to create their own small-scale aquaponics system.
WE Are Innovators Program Brochure
The "WE Are Innovators" Program
STEM@SVSU is excited to share information about an exciting STEM initiative that is available to middle and high schools throughout Bay, Midland and Saginaw counties this year. Two schools in our region participated in the "WE Are Innovators" challenge last year and were awarded the life-changing opportunity of going to Ecuador on a service-learning trip to learn more about STEM solutions globally.
The “WE Are Innovators” Program
Overall, the idea is that students use innovative (STEM) thinking to develop solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges: Sustainable Innovation, Circular Economy and Nature, Food Waste, Energy and Housing, and Transportation Solutions. These themes correspond with five educational modules that students can explore, selecting one (or more) to use as a starting point to come up with a solution for such a challenge in their community.
Steps to participate:
Step One: You can register to participate using this link: https://forms.we.org/campaigns2018/we-are-innovators?cmd=
Alternatively, email email@example.com and she will register on your behalf
*Students can work in small groups and multiple groups can participate within one classroom/program
Step Two: Pick one of the 5 following sustainability issues that interest your group. You can download all of the classroom resources under the ‘download now’ button on our landing page here: https://www.we.org/we-schools/program/campaigns/we-are-innovators/
Step Three: Brainstorm to develop an innovative and sustainable solution to your selected issue that you could implement in your community to make a positive impact for the future.
Step Four: Submit your idea by February 1st. By applying, you have a chance to receive a financial grant for your school and join a service - learning trip to Kenya!
Coaching & Feedback
with Molly Funk
School Counselor Summer Academy
MACUL March 20-22, 2019
MSTA March 1-2, 2019
MRA March 9-11, 2019
MCSS March 22-23, 2019
Adaptive Schools Seminar with Steve Seward
2018-2019 PD Guide
Professional Development Opportunities
CNA with Sara Shriver
Continuous Improvement Series
January 31 & February 5, 2019
Coaching & Feedback for Successful Educator Evaluations
This two-day working series is designed specifically for today's school leaders who want to coach teachers and provide meaningful feedback to them during the evaluation process. Participants will learn the essentials of coaching and how to apply coaching practices in various phases of evaluation. The workshop is designed to take into the unique role of the leader as both coach and evaluator, providing support to teachers with
February 11-13, 2019
Follow-up In-District Building Support
Molly Funk will conduct Evaluation Learning Walks with building leaders. The schedule for this support will be arranged at the January 31 & February 5, 2019 sessions.
Supporting the Educator Workforce
You are invited to join The Michigan Department of Education’s Office of Educator Excellence for an ongoing professional development webinar series designed to empower teacher, school, and district leaders with the knowledge and practices to recruit, develop, retain, recognize, and support educators throughout the workforce pipeline.
The premier 60-minute webinar will be held December 14th at 9:00AM. This session will investigate the key components of a quality mentoring and induction program.
Future topics include:
Student Growth Percentiles (SGP) within Educator Evaluations (January 17, 2019 at 9:00 AM)
Education Value Added Assessment System (EVAAS) (January 25, 2019 at 9:00 AM)
Retaining educators through recognition and district culture (February 22, 2019 at 9:00 AM)
Placing educators to maximize resources (March 22, 2019 at 9:00 AM)
Student Learning Objectives within Educator Evaluations (April 19, 2019 at 9:00 AM)
Recruiting educators for open positions (May 17, 2019 at 9:00 AM)
Participants may earn SCECH for their participation in the live webinar series.
To register for live webinars or view previous recordings, please visit the link below.
MDE Webinar Series
MDE Webinar Series
Coaching & Feedback for Successful Educator Evaluations
U of M Website
SVSU and SISD are partnering to provide a unique opportunity for teachers this coming winter semester. Leadership in Literacy is a co-facilitated workshop that constitutes 3 days of learning. Topics include literacy coaching, the power of school improvement planning, adult learning principles and Professional Learning . See flyer for details.
Early Literacy Update
Disciplinary Literacy: Apprenticing students as readers, writers, and thinkers in the disciplines
Learn more about this 10 hour online course and/or register at:
Upon finishing the course successfully participants receive course completion certificate;
Michigan SCECH hours are available through CEDER upon request (notify CEDER prior to completion that you want the hours)
Group discounts available:
Disciplinary Literacy - Online Course Offering
Number of Licenses
Cost of Course
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Associate Superintendent of Instruction
Director of Instructional Services
Assistant Superintendent for General Education
Director of Instructional Services
Doug Trombley - @Doug_Trombley
Assistant Director of Staff Development - BAISD. Former STEM & English teacher, coach, principal, technology director, curriculum director, and superintendent.
C2 Holiday Schedule Reminder
It is hard to believe that it is December already and that the school year is almost half over. As we get ready to say goodbye to 2018 and usher in 2019, the Great Lakes Bay Intructional team would like to take a minute to thank you for the opportunity to partner with you in 2018. We wish you a fantastic holiday season and look foward to working with you in 2019!
Week of December 24th - No Curriculum Corner due to the holiday. The Curriculum Corner team will hopefully be taking a break.
Week of December 31st - We will wrap up some time off and get ready for the next issue.
January 8, 2018 - Normal publication resumes.
Have an article to share? Would you like to see your school/program featured in a "Points of Pride" feature? Contact Rebekah or John using the links provided below. Thank you for continued support of the Curriculum Corner!
Rebekah Hornak John Mertz
C2 Creative Director C2 Editor